This is a blog dedicated to a personal interpretation of political news of the day. I attempt to be as knowledgeable as possible before commenting and committing my thoughts to a day's communication.

Wednesday, November 22, 2017

Syria, Bashar al-Assad's Dynastic Imperium

"That [the scenario of the U.S. launching a military drive against Assad] requires massive escalation, restarting the war from scratch to roll back Assad's gains and creating an opposition that is both able to govern and acceptable to the international community."
"Looking at the conflict right now and how the opposition's allies are all backing away -- it's just not going to happen."
"To be sure there will be flare-ups of violence and bombings and unrest. But he [Assad] holds he centre, he holds most of the population, he's got the economy and the institutions and the UN seat."
"...He has all the stuff he needs to continue to rule."
Aron Lund, fellow, The Century Foundation, New York

"The participants agreed that the goal of the political settlement is to establish a state based on the principle of citizenship, which enables the Syrians to draft their constitution without interference and to choose their leaders through free, fair and transparent elections in which the Syrians participate inside and outside Syria under the supervision of the United Nations,"
"[The] participants agreed to form a single negotiating delegation in its structure, unified in its positions and reference, with the aim of negotiating with the representatives of the regime ..."
Syrian opposition groups, Riyadh, Saudi Arabia
The Syrian opposition has struggled to unify its ranks against Assad [File: Reuters]
The Syrian opposition has struggled to unify its ranks against Assad [File: Reuters]

Syria, whose president, Bashar al-Assad is responsible for 600,000 Syrian deaths among sectarian Syrian Sunnis, of half of the entire population numbering in the millions displaced (according to the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), 4.8 million are in Turkey, Lebanon, Jordan, Egypt and Iraq, while 6.6 million remain internally displaced within Syria and at least a million have claimed refugee asylum in Europe), yet Syria has its champion in the UN Security Council.

A nation whose governing regime has been found to have used chemical weapons to destroy the lives of its citizens, whose president ordered the use of barrel bombs and starvation sieges to weaken and destroy its political opponents, and where tens of thousands of men, women and children were arrested, tortured and killed, and is held in obloquy, for the slaughter of its own, suddenly becomes celebrated because it plays the grand gesture of signing on to the Paris Climate Accord. Its status in the United Nations, despite its horrible human rights record, remains respected.
Syria’s surprise decision to sign the Paris climate agreement comes against the background of a brutal civil war.
Syria’s surprise decision to sign the Paris climate agreement comes against the background of a brutal civil war. Photograph: Sean Gallup/Getty Images
It is recognized as a terrorist-sponsoring country by the United States, just as the Islamic Republic of Iran is held to be, yet the resolve of the West insisting that Assad must surrender the presidency of Syria in light of the fact that he has destroyed much of the infrastructure of its largest cities in his campaign to destroy his opponents, and his brutally lethal treatment of Syria's Sunni majority has now been set aside thanks to Russian intervention. A year ago it was certain that the regime was losing the civil conflict against the Sunni-led opposition groups.

This, despite the presence of Lebanon-based Hezbollah militias fighting alongside the Syrian military, along with Iran's al-Quds groups of the Republican Guard Corps. And then along came Russia because Vladimir Putin saw an opportunity to regain Russian influence in the Middle East, not among its traditional sources like Egypt, and bypassing the Sunni majority, but by supporting Syria in its civil conflict through sending in Russian troops and establishing a seaport and airforce facility from which Russian bombers have been aiding Assad by punishing dissent with lethal bombing raids.

The tide was effectively turned. The gains made by the Sunni Syrian militias against Assad's Shia Alawite minority rule totally reversed. Had the United States under the Obama administration agreed to adequately train and arm the Sunni rebels and credibly lead them to an organized mission to defeat Assad, many deaths would have been spared, and fewer desperate Syrians made homeless. Russia now has the upper hand, aligning itself with Iran, Hezbollah, Shia militias and Turkey in support of the Syrian regime.

Where previously the Syrian military focused its efforts on battling the Syrian rebels and ignoring the great portions of its territory overrun and captured by the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant, the situation now is that the rebel groups have been so battered they no longer pose the threat they once did, thanks largely to Russian intervention through its air strikes, enabling attention to turn to fighting ISIL The U.S., training rebel forces through the C.I.A. simply did not trust them enough to enable them sufficiently.

It has been the Kurdish-led forces whom the U.S. and other NATO-aligned nations have been helping to train and to equip that have done the heavy lifting in vanquishing ISIL, driving them from their 'caliphate' geography, and draining them of their massive footholds in Syria and Iraq. The International Criminal Court, which named Sudan's president Omar al-Bashir as a war criminal for his deadly assaults in Darfur, should logically be holding Assad to account for his mass slaughters of Syrians and destruction of Sunni neighbourhoods in Syrian cities.

The intention of the West to press the issue of Bashar al-Assad's stepping down from ruling Syria in the dynastic tradition of his brutal father has gone by the wayside. Even Russian efforts to placate that aspiration through allusions to a future election is in reality a sham, since Assad will see no need whatever for a Western-style, democratic election until he has succeeded in destroying possibly most of the presence of Sunni Syrians, leaving the minority Alawites in the majority to vote overwhelmingly for their hero.


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